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Indian Navy to open new base near the Maldives


Indian Navy to open new base near the Maldives

Indian and Maldivian officials inaugurate the construction of an Indian Naval Base. PHOTO: The Maldives Journal

India’s navy is opening a military base in the Lakshwadeep Islands, near the Maldives, today. The base is said to boost anti-piracy and anti-narcotic operations as a part of enhanced security infrastructure in the region.

The recent election of pro-China Maldives president Mohamed Muizzu has raised tensions between New Delhi and Male. Recent social media activity from Narendra Modi, praising India’s beaches in Lakshwadeep, was met with criticism from Maldivian ministers given their heavy reliance on tourism. Tourism competition puts strain on India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ agenda, which the Maldives is included in.

Similarly to the Lakshwadeep military installation, India has been strengthening its presence elsewhere in the region. The recent establishment of an airstrip and jetty on Agalea Island in Mauritius, alongside substantial contributions to Mauritius’ infrastructural development, underscore their competitiveness with similar Chinese projects.

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Expect continued tensions between Male and New Delhi as China continues to develop ties with the small nation. In the short term, India may continue growing their security mandate within the region to counter Chinese efforts. Additionally, Muizzu may move towards greater independence from India, as shown by his campaign pledge to end their aerial security cooperation. In the long term, strained relations may impact the Neighbourhood First policy as India seeks broadened strategic relations in the region. Sino-India relations may continue to decline, with both sides demonstrating their intention to build their economic and military ties.

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